Relative bioavailability of the antioxidant quercetin from various foods in man.

P.C.H. Hollman, J.M.P. van Trijp, M.N.C.P. Buysman, M.S. van de Gaag, M.J.B. Mengeler, J.H.M. de Vries, M.B. Katan

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727 Citations (Scopus)


Quercetin is a strong antioxidant and a major dietary flavonoid. Epidemiological studies suggest that consumption of quercetin protects against cardiovascular disease, but its absorption in man is controversial. We fed nine subjects a single large dose of onions, which contain glucose conjugates of quercetin, apples, which contain both glucose and non-glucose quercetin glycosides, or pure quercetin-3-rutinoside, the major quercetin glycoside in tea. Plasma levels were then measured over 36 h. Bioavailability of quercetin from apples and of pure quercetin rutinoside was both 30% relative to onions. Peak levels were achieved less than 0.7 h after ingestion of onions, 2.5 h after apples and 9 h after the rutinoside. Half-lives of elimination were 28 h for onions and 23 h for apples. We conclude that conjugation with glucose enhances absorption from the small gut. Because of the long half-lives of elimination, repeated consumption of quercetin-containing foods will cause accumulation of quercetin in blood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-156
JournalFEBS Letters
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Bioavailability
  • Dietary quercetin
  • Flavanoid glycoside
  • Human
  • Pharmacokinetics


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